User Participation and Collaborative Creativity

Saturday, January 7, 2012: 11:30 AM
Chicago Ballroom IX (Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers)
Alexandra Eveleigh, University College London
My research looks at the impact of user participation and ‘collaborative creativity’ upon archival theory and practice, with a particular focus on users’ involvement in archival description and metadata creation/reuse. It is funded by a UK Arts and Humanities Research Council collaborative doctoral award, the partners being University College London and The National Archives.

My working research questions are:

  • Is user participation an evolution or revolution in archival practice & professionalism?
  • What contexts and circumstances encourage and motivate users to participate in archival description?
  • What impact do participatory methodologies have upon (a) the archive service (b) existing users (c) new users and broader society?
  • The objectives are essentially to distinguish between what works and what doesn’t, and why: to explore some of the realities behind the claims made regarding experts, crowds and volunteer communities, and seek to understand what moves to allow a multiplicity of voices to supplement or even supplant the authoritative professional voice might mean for notions of archival value and traditional communities of archive users.

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